Andrew Pelechaty previews the Round 20 opener between Manly Warringah and the Sydney Roosters…
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Vs Sydney Roosters
Venue: 4 Pines Park, Sydney
Date: Thursday July 28, 7:50pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Sea Eagles: 1. Reuben Garrick 2. Pio Seci 3. Morgan Harper 4. Dylan Walker 5. Alfred Smalley 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Kurt De Luis 11. Ethan Bullemor 12. Andrew Davey 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. James Segeyaro 15. Sean Keppie 16. Martin Taupau 17. Morgan Boyle 18. Zac Fulton 19. Kaeo Weekes 20. James Roumanos.
With seven players sitting out (see MATCHDAY PREVIEW below for more information), a decimated Manly have named a 20-man squad. Pio Seci and Alfred Smalley will debut, while Kurt de Luis and Ethan Bullemor are also starting.
Jake Trbojevic, Lachlan Croker, and Andrew Davey all return from COVID-19 omissions. The journeyman James Segeyaro has been called up from NSW Cup (Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles) and will make his Manly debut from the bench.Embed from Getty Images
Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Joseph Manu 5. Joseph Suaalii 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Sam Verrills 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Angus Crichton 12. Nat Butcher 13. Victor Radley 14. Connor Watson 15. Egan Butcher 16. Drew Hutchison 17. Matthew Lodge 18. Adam Keighran 19. Terrell May 20. Naufahu Whyte 21. Ben Thomas 22. Kevin Naiqama.
Joey Manu returns from injury, with Drew Hutchison moving to the bench. Lindsay Collins also returns from his Origin III concussion.
Referee: Grant Atkins.
A crucial “four point game” at Brookvale Oval has been overshadowed by seven Manly Warringah players boycotting the game over the Sea Eagles’ Pride jersey: Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Tolutau Koula, Josh Aloiai, Haumole Olakau’atu, Toafofoa Sipley, and Josh Schuster
With Manly in a four-way tie for eighth (on 20 points with the Roosters, Canberra, and St George Illawarra), the mass exodus could hurt their finals chances. They run home with the unpredictable Parramatta, the Titans (in Queensland), Cronulla-Sutherland, Canberra (in Canberra), and the improved Canterbury-Bankstown. They’ll fancy winning winning most of those games (with their full squad back), though as the Round 19 Dragons loss showed, there’s no such thing as an “easy” game.
After an inconsistent season (by their high standards), the Sydney Roosters are starting to gel, scoring nearly 100 points in their last two games (54-26 vs St George Illawarra, 42-12 vs Newcastle) to move into eighth spot. They have a tough run home: playing Brisbane, North Queensland (both in Sydney), Melbourne (in Melbourne), and arch-rivals Souths.
Manly and the Roosters have never met on a Thursday night. The Roosters have won 9/14 on a Thursday, while Manly are 2/10.
The Roosters won their first clash (way back in Round 2), 26-12 at the SCG, with the Roosters leading 22-0 at half-time.
All of Manly’s self-imposed omissions tips this game in the Roosters’ favour.Embed from Getty Images
While known as a premiership-winning captain at Manly, Paul “Fatty” Vautin also played for the Eastern Suburbs Roosters. He left Manly in 1989 (playing 204 games) and played 34 games for Easts in 1990 and 1991 before retiring to the commentary box, hosting The Footy Show for over 20 years, and coaching Queensland to that famous Origin win in 1995.
Andrew Walker played 103 games for Roosters from 1995 to 1999 before moving to the ACT Brumbies from 2000-03. He returned to the NRL with Manly in 2004, playing 24 games. He also played 18 games for St George (1992-94).
Ian Schubert played 149 games for Easts over two stints (1975-80, 1982). He was the Player of the Match in Easts’ 1975 38-0 grand final win over St George. He moved to Manly in 1983 and played 29 games in two seasons. He also played 92 games for Western Suburbs (1981, 1985-89).
Roosters by 10.
Follow Nothing But Rugby League on Facebook